Got Cabin Fever? Here Is The Cure For The Monotony.
So all of America, and most of the world at this point, is experiencing the mind numbing effects of cabin fever from the corona virus quarantines by now. I myself am like a lot of us who are considered Essential Personnel, or in an essential service, so while I do get to leave the house and break the cycle of sharing potato chips with my dog in between naps, many of us are stuck in the house and quickly losing our minds to the 24 hour news shows and social media without a way to break the monotony.
So what is the secret you ask? Start planning that “one day” trip.
I know, I know. We can’t leave the house and have no idea when we are going to be able too, but hear me out.
At some point this will all be over and the last place you are going to want to be is at home right? So where are you going to go? The same place as all of your neighbors and everyone else in town?
Screw that. If a world wide pandemic that has locked down the residents of over 100 countries isn’t enough of a kick in the ass to start living a little when you come out the other side of this, I don’t know what is.
Planning this freedom from quarantine trip is something that the whole family can do, even the young ones. I am going to do my best to try and lay out a few different scenarios, because let’s face it, we are all in a little different situation, and ALL need something to do to occupy our time.
The Outdoorsy Type
Is your family the one we always see competing on American Ninja Warrior? Never satisfied with the trail walks at the town park? Then what I would suggest is checking out some of our National Parks!
They have something for everyone with beginner to advanced trail hikes and back country camping, wild life that you have never seen before, and some of Americas most amazing natural wonders and I for one can tell you, seeing them in person is much more amazing than seeing any picture of them on the internet.
Take a look at Yellowstone, Denali, Teddy Roosevelt and the Redwood National Forrest, or even Niagara Falls just to name a few. Americas National Parks website is a great place to start for this one. If you aren’t anywhere near any of the ones I just mentioned, they have a park locator map to help you figure out where to start, trip planning ideas, you can even search by specific activities that you want to do.
There are entrance fees to some parks, but one great thing is you can get an America Membership Card. That’s what we call ours anyway. Its a Pass to cover your entire car load of thrill seekers entry into any national and some state parks for the entire year. You can even get a lifetime pass!
Have each member of the family come up with something they want to do or see or both. It can be hiking or climbing, or bison (if you have some weird obsession like my wife does), or a bald eagle, or wolves or literally anything that captures your imagination when you think of the great outdoors.
You can use the National Park Service website to look up the activities, you can do a simple web search find the best national park to see the wildlife you are interested in.
Great one for the kids is to have them look it up. Teach them how to do these searches and instill in them the best way to use screen time and technology to get them off the couch and in to the fresh air.
Have them look up information about the animals they want to see like bald eagles, or prairie dogs or wild horses (all of which can be seen in the bad lands at Teddy Roosevelt National Park, along with being able to say you visited places that Jesse James and Billy The Kid used to hide out in the Wild West.
Ask the kiddos to read the website information to you while you are doing the “adult stuff” you need to do in the kitchen if you need a way to keep them occupied while you’re making dinner.
This is a project the whole family can do over multiple bouts of boredom for days or weeks. Start out with your small list of things you want to do and see and work on it the next time they get stir crazy. Have them look up the history or the fun facts about them. In doing so you will find other places near your destination to add to your trip like museums and other fun little stops along the way.
I will admit the History channel is a favorite in our house when we are sitting on the couch. Even though our country is one of the younger ones on the planet, there are a LOT of great historical places to visit. That America Membership Card will come in handy for some of them as well!
From the Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island on the east coast, to Independence Hall in Philly, to the Lincoln Memorial in DC, to the Jesse James Birthplace Museum in Missouri, to the Pioneer Museum in Colorado, to Alcatraz in on the west coast, and Many Many more in between, there is something for everyone to go see and experience in our nations past.
If you are near Las Vegas check out the Mob Museuem, and see if you can find the speakeasy. It’s there, complete with a secret entrance from the street for the locals in the know.
If you are near New York go take a look at the Museum of Natural History. While you are stuck in the house with the stay at home order, watch Night at the Museum with the kids and it will really make the trip to the actual museum at lot more exciting for them when you get there!
Here is another opportunity to have the kids involved with planning the trip, keeping them occupied, and sparking their imagination about riding with Jesse James in the bad lands, or escaping Alcatraz with Frank Morris and the Anglin Brothers, or taking that first flight with the Wright Brothers, or maybe blasting off from Cape Canaveral with Neil Armstong and Buzz Aldrin.
Ask them what they want to go see, or have them look up something related to a common theme when they are day dreaming. Get them reading the websites with the historical information about it, have them look up the museum on the subject the want to know about, ask them to find you some fun facts about what they are looking up and make a list so they can check off things to see when you get out to those museums.
Encourage them to use their imagination about things they might see in the museum, and tell you what they are most looking forward too. See if you can make a weekend out of it and take your time and really get to take it all in and enjoy the time out of the house seeing history come to life.
Are you looking for a way to couple getting the kids off the couch and in the fresh air with keeping their minds occupied while sharpening their critical thinking skills? Then have I got the suggestion for you.
This activity can be done literally everywhere. Have you heard of geocaching? Here is the basics on it.
I put a Tupperware box, with some trinkets in it, marbles, match box car, thimble, whatever, in a park, along a trail, etc. I log those GPS coordinates into the website with a name and a description and a clue about where it is.
You use an app on your phone while you are at the park with the kids. It has a compass to bring you in the right direction and you have to find it. Its like an Easter egg hunt all year long. When you find it you can sign the log, and trade one of your trinkets that you bring with you for one that is inside the geocache.
Now here’s the best part. When I said you can do this anywhere, I meant anywhere. Download the app and take a look. You want the one made by Groundspeak. They are hidden on every continent, in cities, in rural areas, in the woods, in parks, everywhere. There has not been one single kid that has come with us when we were out geocaching that hasn’t had fun doing it.
You may even be the first one to find one, which is always a cool little thrill. Some are set up like a puzzle to be opened, some are really tricky hides and designed to look like other objects, especially in the city.
Now Geocaching is only one of the useful road trip apps we suggest, and if you are in the Central New Jersey area, you may even find one hidden by the VeltingFamily. Happy Hunting